Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (19 May 1877) ... thinking of his life of ink and paper.
I am so tired at night that I no longer get up as early as I
would want. But that will pass and I trust I shall be able to
force myself to do it.
I hope to be at Uncle Stricker's on Whit Monday afternoon
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (30 May 1877) ... your nets again into the
My head is sometimes heavy and often it burns and my
thoughts are confused - I don't see how I shall ever get that
difficult and extensive study into it - to get used to and
persevere in simple regular study after all those emotional
years is not always easy. And yet I go on; if we are tired
isn't it then because we have already walked a long way, and if
it is true that man has his battle to fight on earth, is not
then the feeling of weariness and the burning of the head a
sign that we have been struggling? When we are working at a
difficult task and strive after a good thing we fight a
righteous battle, the direct reward of which is that we are
kept from much evil.
And God sees the trouble and the sorrow and He can help in
spite of all. The faith in God is firm in me - it is no
imagination, no idle faith - but it is so, it is true, there is
a God Who is alive and He is with our parents and His eye is
also upon us, and I am...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (19 July 1882) ... the better studio involuntarily urge me on. The doctor forbids
my working hard, as I still tire very easily; but this will
gradually disappear, and then I shall set to work with full
I want to reserve to myself the right of discussing with you
in general the question of marriage, housekeeping expenses,
etc., when you come here, particularly as I believe there are
some points on which you are mistaken; but this will be in
quite a friendly way, and it does not bear directly on the
question of a legal marriage to Sien. As all this forces me to
write at once, I only ask that the matter be allowed to rest
until such time as I earn more by the direct sale of my work.
When you come here, I shall certainly tell you the reason why I
should have preferred to marry her without delay, but please do
not consider this a further insistence on my part. No, to the
extent I mentioned I am prepared to make concessions as far as
I told you, of my own accord and of my own free will.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 10 October 1882) ... it is because of my
illness lying between. I feel quite normal now, except when I
am very tired; then I sometimes have a day or half a day when I
feel indescribably weak and faint, much more so now than
before. However, I do not pay attention to it any more, for I'm
getting sick of it, and I can't afford to be ill, as I have too
much work to do. At such times taking a long walk to
Scheveningen or somewhere often helps me.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 22 June 1883) ... up this time; I was absolutely
penniless. The woman had no milk to nurse the baby those last
days, and I too felt very faint. As a last effort I went in
desperation to Tersteeg. I thought, “I have nothing to
lose, perhaps it is a way to bring about a better state of
affairs.” So I went there with a large sketch, about
which I wrote you in my last letter. It has turned into a row
of diggers, men and women, with lumps of earth in the
foreground and a glimpse of some roofs of a little village in
the background. I told Tersteeg that I understood perfectly
well this sketch could not be anything for him, but that I came
to show it to him because it was so long since he had seen any
of my work and because I for one wanted to prove that I did not
feel any ill will about what had happened last year. Well, he
said that he did not hold a grudge, either; as to the drawing,
he had told me last year that I ought to make watercolours, and
he did not want to repeat himself by talking...